Several excellent posts to catch up on, but your last was very special, and I'd like to thank you so much for being so open here with us - the Church as family is what such frankness brings to my mind.
When you ask:
Quote: I would like to ask how many of us knowing converted to a particularistic form of theology or if you prefer ecclesiology?
you raise a question which will be of interest to us all - not least those here who are still on a spiritual journey looking for an ecclesial community where we can belong.
As an Anglican I was always aware that any opinion, so long as it was not pressed, seemed permissible; so, in that sense, being an Anglican was an option which, on the surface, was the opposite of particularistic theology; except it wasn't, for within it were many camps, all with their barbed wire fences. That seems a microcosm of what you are describing on the wider front. Even the option of not taking a position becomes, as I found, a position. In a process which, to me, mirrored something I find in the early history of the Church, I kept finding myself defining my position by what it was not.
I did not regard the institution narrative as an example of Our Lord speaking allegorically; I did not find any problem in asking for the prayers of others, in this word and the next; I did not find that my Faith was a substitute for political action, neither did I find it dictated a political position to me; I did not think that an individual part of the Church had the right to depart from what had been historically done: which meant that Papal Infallibility was as big a 'no, no' and women priests. But neither was I interested in joining an ethnic social club - heck, I had the local Tory Party for that
This was the main reason why I came to find myself in a no-man's land. I have never felt comfortable with the notion that I can, by myself, rightly divide the word of God. The besetting sin of most academics is a pride in their own intellect and their own ability to works things out; I can get that wrong often enough in my own discipline without wishing to incur the penalties that would follow from any attempt to do that with the word of God. So, for most of the time, all I could do was mediate my own reading through the Church Fathers and through commentaries from the Higher end of Anglicanism. Well, I guess you can never be alone with God, but it still felt a lonely place to be, which was one of the reasons I went, sporadically, to my local Anglican Church - the other being that I liked the priest. It was the arrival of his successor which precipitated things for me. To all intents a liberal evangelical, unknowingly, he made me feel completely out of place.
I was well aware that any decision I took would be a difficult one; after all, was it not the definition of a Protestant methodology to 'choose' a Church for oneself. My two best friends had already converted to Catholicism, and clearly found my unwillingness to join them puzzling; but there never was a pull for me. Back at college I had come across Orthodoxy, but had been told firmly that unless I was Russian or Greek, this was not for me; tentative contacts with it later did nothing to remove this view.
As far as I am concerned, I should have remained where I was had I not been fortunate enough to discover the BOC. One of my Catholic friends still maintains that my decision is incomprehensible - why, he asks me, 'join a Monophysite sect?' Well, apart for the argument over the 'M' word, I say to him that it is precisely because it is not a sect. Its theology is so closely related to it soteriology that I sometimes wonder whether it is possible to divide them - or why one would wish to do so.
In the end, it is the Ignatian model of the Church which I have embraced. As I think I said when contemplating our recent study day at Mickfield, I felt that the Church really was gathered there around Abba Seraphim.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)